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Original research
Effects of bilateral stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's disease with and without REM sleep behaviour disorder


Background Although rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with increased non-motor symptoms, its impact on the deep brain stimulation (DBS) outcome remains unclear. This is the first study to compare the post-DBS outcome between PD patients with RBD (PD-RBD+) and without (PD-RBD-).

Methods We analysed data from PD patients who were treated with bilateral DBS in the nucleus subthalamicus. Assessments included night-polysomnography (only pre-DBS), and motor and non-motor assessments pre-DBS and post-DBS.

Results Among 50 PD patients (29 males, mean age 62.5 years, 11.8 mean PD years), 24 (48%) had RBD. Pre-DBS, the two groups were equal in respect to sociodemographic features, disease duration and PD medications. A multivariate analysis showed that the clinical profile linked to motor, non-motor and quality of life features differed significantly between PD patients with and without RBD. The most discriminative elements were Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)-III, apathy and depression scores. Post-DBS, UPDRS-III, Epworth sleepiness scale and PD questionnaire improved significantly in both groups. UPDRS-II scores significantly improved in the PD-RBD+ group (−45%) but remained unchanged in the PD-RBD- group (−14%). The depression score improved significantly in the PD-RBD+ (−34%) and remained unchanged in the PD-RBD- group. The apathy score remained unchanged in the PD-RBD+ group but increased significantly in the PD-RBD- group (+33%).

Conclusion While pre-DBS, PD patients with and without RBD showed different clinical profiles, post-DBS, the clinical profiles were comparable between the two groups. In respect to depressive symptoms, apathy and activities of daily living, PD-RBD+ patients show favourable post-DBS outcome. These findings highlight the importance of RBD assessment prior to DBS surgery.

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
  • quality of life
  • subthalamic deep brain stimulation
  • non-motor symptoms

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